I started this school back in January of 2008 in hopes that I would receive my Associate Degree in Criminal Justice because that was my dream. Here where I live we have a community college, Lincoln College. When I spoke to an admissions counselor, Jessica Sojack, she explained to me that they were affiliates of Lincoln College and she even knew where the locations were. I ended up signing up for their program and was very happy that I decided to go back to school. Since 2008, it has been a nightmare and nothing but a disappointment.
After enrolling of course I started my courses. To me, they were pretty easy, nothing too challenging, but I thought it was weird that I never took any general education requirements. Sure I took communications and a critical thinking course but I never took any english, mathematics, history, or science courses. The degree was based off of all criminal justice courses. But I never mentioned it, I had never attended college before so I thought this was just their way of teaching. I also thought that their credits were weird as well. They offer 4 credit classes instead of 3 but thought I was getting something good since they were giving me more credits. I never had too many problems with their financial aid department, professors, or even the Dean, whom I had spoken to on numerous occasions. I thought it was wonderful that I was able to call her personal number any time I needed anything and she was always there to answer. Anyways, I was 1 class away or 4 credits away from receiving my Associates when I finally found out that none of my credits would transfer to a well known university here in Normal, Illinois. Not only was I angry but I was confused as to what I was going to do now after spending so much time and so much money on this worthless degree.
The reason my credits would not transfer was because they were not a regionally accredited school, they only had national accreditation. I had no idea what this meant because as I had stated earlier, I knew nothing about accreditation. I ended up calling several universities around me, including Lincoln College. That was when I found out that Lincoln College Online was NOT affiliated with Lincoln College at all. I had called my academic advisor, who had changed at least 4 times during the 2 years I was there and told her what was going on and she said she would check into it for me. She never did call back so I called her back finally and she told me she was no longer working for the school. When asked why, she said she had mentioned what I had told her about none of my credits were transferring along with other personal issues. I have also had issues with them not sending official transcripts. They will not answer my emails, return phone calls, or anything of that nature in order for me to get my transcripts. The only time they did was in 2010 when I transferred. It has been over a year and still no transcripts.
Feeling horrible, I figured there wasn't much I was going to be able to do with the school itself so I searched and searched for a school who would take my credits. I finally found a reputable online university that took "some" of my credits. They would not transfer all of them but they transferred more than any other school would. A few weeks ago, I was reviewing my loans and grants, as I never have before, I've only looked at the papers from Lincoln and the letters I receive from the school I attend now. It amazed me at just how much I borrowed from the US Dept of Education and how much I was granted in order to attend Lincoln College Online. Yes I know I should have kept track of this but going over my paperwork from Lincoln College Online compared to my loan and grant information, they received over what I was suppose to be paying. The total for loans and grants is $26,585. My paperwork says I was only suppose to be paying $912 per class which included their technology fees and books. What person in their right mind would pay $26,585 for an Associate degree??? I didn't even complete all of the classes but it was still this much? Makes no sense to me at all. I actually called them today to ask what their tuition is for their Associate program in Criminal Justice and you know what they guy told me? He told me it was $605 per credit hour but it included books. WHAT? Are you serious. $605 per credit hour! That means they are charging $2,420 each class, that's like $53,000 for an Associate degree.
I have also had issues with them not sending official transcripts. They will not answer my emails, return phone calls, or anything of that nature in order for me to get my transcripts. The only time they did was in 2010 when I transferred. It has been over a year and still no transcripts.
I am at a loss as to what to do right now. I've contacted the US Dept. of Education to see what it is that I need to do in order to figure out if my loans and grants for Lincoln College Online are correct and if not what it is that I can do. I have no idea what I can do. I am a single, stay at home mom trying to do what's right. I want to get an education so I serve my community and help those in need. That's all I wanted to do and now I am $12,194 in the hole over this school. For what? For nothing. If I would have stayed, my degree would have meant nothing, absolutely nothing. I am not even sure why the Dept. of Education allows nationally accredited schools government funding. Do they not know that these degrees mean nothing.
If ANYONE out there is thinking about attending this school, please save yourself the hassle. It's not worth it at all. And if anyone out there knows of anything I could possibly do, please, please let me know.